Why It Feels Like This Summer Just Barreled Past You

modeled by Chev Heurt; produced by Julie Borowsky; modeled by Khloe Mitchell; produced by Lorenna Gomez-Sanchez; photographed by Renell Medrano; produced by Sam Nodelman.
Okay, so summer isn't officially over yet (we still have a little over a week left), but chances are, you've already had to wind down on your barbecues. Labor Day, often seen as the unofficial end of summer, has come and gone, and unfortunately, so have our beach days (unless you live in California or near some warm other coast).
If you feel like summer came and went too quickly, you're definitely not the only one — and that feeling might not actually have anything to do with the season being any shorter than fall or winter.
Lindsay A. Henderson, PsyD, a psychologist who treats patients via telehealth app, LiveHealth Online, says that as a society, we tend to wear "busy-ness" as a badge of honor. This means that before you know it, time flies by while we're all busy trying to be busy.
She says this can be particularly true during summer, which people might look forward to (at least, compared to winter). And when you're having fun, time definitely feels like it passes by a lot quicker.
"Many of us are very busy during summer months with activities we enjoy, which can leave less time for mindfulness that keeps us grounded in the here and now and make time feel a bit less fast," Dr. Henderson says.
If it seems like summers pass by quicker as you age, there's a reason for that, too. In general, time might just seem to fly by faster the older you get, and Dr. Henderson says there are a couple of theories as to why this might be. One of those theories is that you experience time differently as you age, because you've seen and done more things as time goes on.
"There is less that is 'new' to you, less that is emotionally charged and encoded to meaningful long-term memories that we look back on to measure time," she says. "With less of those novel memories, it seems that time passes more quickly."
Either way, Dr. Henderson says humans just aren't that great at measuring the amount of time something might take up in our lives.
"Whether this is for a work project or plans for the entire season of summer, time can creep away from our estimations of how long sometime will take or last," she says. "This can be true as we grow older and find ourselves looking back on life experiences, struggling with the fact that they have passed us by or that our time to reach future goals is dwindling. Our emotions get in the way of an accurate perception of time."
In other words, it's not your fault if summer just breezed you by — and there's no need to feel guilty about it. It's perfectly natural and human. But at the same time, as Ferris Bueller said, "life moves pretty fast. If you don't stop and look around every once in a while, you could miss it."

More from Mind

R29 Original Series